Is your love life in a rut? Do you find yourself going out on dates with the same kind of person over and over again? On the surface, they may look different. They may do their hair differently, or be a few inches taller or shorter, perhaps different color eyes; but ultimately whom they are, how they act, how they treat you always seems to be the same? Do you keep embarking on the same relationship over and over, even though your partners change? As I have written about in previous blogs, this is because we tend to keep seeking out other people to fill some need we have within ourselves. In this article, I will let you in on a little secret about why it is so hard for us to seek out new solutions to filling those needs.
There’s a very popular quote going around right now that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.” And as it pertains to relationships, many of us are clinically insane. Sure, we may abandon one relationship with John to engage in new one with Michael, but the patterns are the same. At first we are enamored by the thrill of “getting to know” our new romantic interest. Sure there is a lot of excitement that stems from new discovery. And unfortunately some people become addicted to this excitement. But as time wears on, and we begin to discover fewer and fewer traits about our romantic interest, something within us begins to shift. Those habits or tendencies that they have (which we were all-to-willing to overlook in the beginning of the relationship) begin to grate on us. Why won’t he just put his nasty socks in the laundry basket? Can’t he rinse his plate before leaving it in the sink? And when, oh, when will he ever put the toilet seat back down after he uses it? Perhaps you guys wonder: When will she learn to put the seat back up in the middle of the night, so she doesn’t have to complain about me peeing on the toilet seat? Either way, you get the point. Over time, as the novelty of the relationship wears off, we begin to nit-pick the habits of our lovers. Soon, and more damaging stage begins.
As we begin to habitually criticize others, we become less committed to our relationship with them. We allow ourselves to find less enjoyment out of the shared experiences. At the same time, we increase the level of frustration we experience as a result of their behaviors. This allows us to emotionally decrease our investment in the relationship so that when it inevitably ends, we will not be as traumatized. Ouch! Now we can walk away, placing the blame on them. It is only once we have accepted the end of the relationship that we can begin to look at the relationship as part of a larger pattern. That is usually when you hear yourself asking, “Why me? What’s wrong with me? Why do I keep picking guys/ladies like this?” The short answer is that there is nothing “wrong” with you. You have simply developed poor patterns as it pertains to looking for a romantic partner. While that may not be a news flash to you, it is comforting to know that you can always choose to adopt a new pattern.